Youth ministry has a painful double-edged sword.
One the one hand, youth ministry plays a critical role in the faith development of teenagers. It’s incredible to be part of life transformation at such a defining point in their lives.
On the other hand you are only reading one chapter on a teenagers life.
You get– Chapter 3: The Teenage Years.
If you aren’t familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this post might not make much sense to you. (Or TV shows like Survivor!)
Question: Did I nail it? What’s missing? What’s wrong? Let me know in the comments.
Sometimes I hear about a thing. And the thing is attached to such a good sound byte that it sticks. And then that thing kind of takes a life of its own before you’ve really thought about it much.
And that’s what I think happened with the “no drop-off” thing that’s found favor in family ministry circles. (The best I can tell it started as part of the kids ministry at Northpoint and gained steam via Reggie Joiner’s book, Think Orange. But it’s also taken on a life of it’s own, you see it expressed in a lot of ways in churches who “do the Orange thing” in their churches.)
In the past few weeks I’ve invested a ton of my energy in Open.
Open is a series of open-source-styled youth ministry training events that I dreamt about for nearly 2 years and was finally able to launch last Fall. When we launched it we quickly learned that it wasn’t just a dream I had… but a dream of a lot of people. Consequently, it’s grown way faster than I’d planned on.
Here’s a short description from the manifesto:
So, you’re leading a small group this school year in the youth ministry? That’s so cool. Whether it’s your first season or your 35th thanks for investing in the lives of teenagers. It might not seem like it every week, but it makes a huge difference.
So… I’m a small group leader. How do I actually do that?
Here are a few of my favorite tips for small group leaders.
I loved Rhett’s talk at The Summit last fall. He and his book struck such a chord with me personally and I heard lots of feedback from people in attendance who felt the same way.
When I think about anxiety and other issues that we’re hearing more and more about in regards to teenagers I’m wondering: Is it that these things always existed and we’re just now better understanding them? Or is it that something has changed within us as a society which is making us more anxious, depressed, and attention deficient?
And the conspiracy theorist is me wonders: Are we simply aware of it because there’s a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry that profits when they educate people that they might have something for which they conveniently have a $40 per dose pill to treat?
Probably a little of each, eh?
It’s Wednesday afternoon. I’ve got one eye on finishing up my work, one eye on the clock so I don’t forget to pick up the kids from school, and another eye on a lesson I’m supposed to teach at youth group.
The problem is that I only have two eyes. There’s only one of me. And as much as I love investing in the lives of teenagers– I mean that’s what my whole life is about– I catch myself muttering this phrase: This better be worth it.